Can one quarterback from the same Texas high school outplay the other?
Can Nick Foles, one of the greatest relief pitchers in recent NFL history, out-perform Drew Brees in the Superdome?
If so, it would be one of the great items on an already sterling resumé compiled by the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback.
Others have tried and failed. On Nov. 4 at the Superdome, L.A. Rams quarterback Jared Goff completed 12 of 16 passes for 192 yards and a touchdown in the first half. But, he was bested by Brees, who completed 17 of 22 first-half throws for 211 yards and three touchdowns.
With 1:06 to play in the second quarter, Goff made a throw that would eventually determine who had homefield advantage in the NFC playoffs. His pass for wide receiver Robert Woods was intercepted by Saints linebacker Alex Anzalone at the Rams 36. Thirty-three seconds later, the Saints scored to take a 35-14 lead. The Saints won 45-35.
The only quarterback who was better than Brees in the Superdome in 2018 may have been Tampa Bay’s Ryan Fitzpatrick. In a 48-40 win in the opener, Fitzpatrick completed 21 of 28 passes for 417 yards and four touchdowns. However, Brees was 37 of 45 for 439 yards and three touchdowns.
Brees and Foles were a decade apart at Westlake High School in Austin, Texas.
In the minutes after the Eagles’ Super Bowl win over the Patriots 11 months ago, Foles was asked about a pre-game text he had received from Brees.
“He said it is just football,” said Foles of his message from Brees. “There’s a lot of things going on, including a longer halftime. But, it is just football.”
And, playing football indoors at the Superdome better than the Saints quarterback would be seem to be problematic.
At home, Brees has thrown 21 touchdown passes and one interception. On the road, Brees has thrown 11 touchdown passes and four interceptions.
At home, Brees is averaging almost a yard and a half more per attempt than on the road. He’s completed 76.3 percent of his passes at home. At the Superdome, Brees’ quarterback rating is 34 points higher than on the road.
After a 48-7 shellacking at the hands of the Saints on Nov. 18, the Eagles looked grounded. But, they dramatically improved their secondary, and then something unexpected happened for the second straight season: Their starting quarterback went down with a season-ending injury, opening the door once again for Foles.
He’s been very good, again. But, can he be better than his fellow Westlake alum on a Sunday evening at 1500 Sugar Bowl Drive?
It is a very high bar to reach.
Ed Daniels is sports director of ABC26 WGNO. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.